Diesel Milan Fashion Week show opens amid 200,000 condoms
Posted on February 23, 2023
Written by Marianna Cerini, CNNMilan, Italy
Guests arriving at Diesel’s Milan Fashion Week show on Wednesday might have been surprised by the scenery: a giant mountain of condoms. The Italian brand unveiled its Fall-Winter 2023 collection against a backdrop of more than 200,000 Durex boxes, a nod to both sex positivity and a future collaboration with the contraception company.
“We love playing at Diesel, and we’re serious about it,” creative director Glenn Martens said in a statement. “Have fun, respect each other, be safe.”
Indeed, the entire collection explored themes of freedom, fun and experimentation, with models strutting around the avalanche of condoms in ultra low-rise jeans, denim garments with lace panels in sheer mesh and torn silk robes held together by precarious-looking chains. The accompanying techno soundtrack was interspersed with explicit moans, reinforcing the message that Martens is ready to push the limits.
A model wearing a silk dress with draped chains on the catwalk. Credit: Victor Virgil/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Since becoming creative director in October 2020, the Belgian designer has steered Diesel — long known for its provocative marketing and luxury jeans aesthetic — toward more experimental uses of denim. He also played with upcycling. This collection alone featured remnants of nylon covered in another type of plastic and heated, dead faux fur painted to look almost like liquid and biker jackets that were torched and made into structural parts.
A look from Diesel’s Fall-Winter 2023 collection. Credit: Victor Virgil/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
And, of course, he made Diesel’s set design a talking point during fashion week.
In February 2022, during Martens’ post-pandemic runway return, the label greeted attendees with five inflatables striking a series of cheeky poses described by Diesel as “confident, exuberant and proud”. Each was modeled after a real person and ranged from approximately 25 feet to 55 feet wide. Invitations to the show included an edible lanyard made from red and white candies.
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Then, for its Spring/Summer 2023 presentation last September, Diesel erected a huge inflatable that earned a Guinness World Record for the largest inflatable sculpture ever. (The label also invited the public to attend the show, breaking with exclusive fashion week norms to accommodate 5,000 people.)
Models walk past the “mountain” of bright red condom boxes. Credit: Victor Virgil/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
The condom “mountain,” as Diesel described it, has created another viral moment under Martens’ leadership – a movement that promotes both the brand’s new collection and safer sex. In keeping with the theme, invitations were sent out in the form of Durex packs, while a post-show press release announced that Diesel would be distributing an additional 300,000 condoms in its stores worldwide in April. A jersey t-shirt seen on the catwalk on Wednesday also hinted at what was to come, with Diesel’s classic ‘D’ logo replaced with Durex’s ‘D’.
Top image caption: The Diesel presentation set.